BSP: Financial consumer complaints reach P2-B from 2019 to 2021

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
BSP: Financial consumer complaints reach P2-B from 2019 to 2021
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said that financial consumer complaints from 2019 to 2021 reached P2 billion.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Financial consumer complaints filed with regulators reached P2 billion over a three-year period through 2021, with the pandemic-driven rise in digital transactions also fueling an increase in fraud and other financial crimes.

During Monday’s Senate joint committee hearing on the proposed Financial Consumer Protection (FCP) Act, Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said complaints related to internet banking and mobile banking made up 45.2% of the total complaints filed last year. 

"A majority of these cases have been deemed closed. But the process was long and arduous and for many complaints, the resolutions were unfavorable to the consumer," Diokno said.

For the BSP chief, the cases could be resolved quickly once the FCP is set in place. 

"[The FCP] Act will empower financial regulators such as BSP, Insurance Commission, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), and the Cooperative Development Authority to expedite the adjudication of reasonable monetary claims more efficiently, fairly and openly- all to the benefit of the consumers," Diokno said. 

"More importantly, the act provides financial consumers with new, immediate and efficient avenues for redress by granting financial regulators with adjudicatory authority to conduct hearings on consumer complaints," he added.

Cyber and financial crimes on the rise

Diokno believes that while the pandemic has caused the "dramatic" rise in the use of digital financial services, this has brought about "graver risk."

"Hackers and scammers took advantage of the digital infrastructure and consumer vulnerability to perpetrate crime. Based on BSP monitoring, the increased use of the public of digital financial services has given rise to a wave of cyber and financial crimes," Diokno said during the Senate hearing.

Last month, Sy-led BDO Unibank Inc. agreed to absorb the financial losses of around 700 clients who fell victim to massive online hacking incidents which led to several unauthorized electronic fund transfers. 

Some of the affected clients reported that their money was illegally transferred to a UnionBank account under the name "Mark Nagoyo."

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier, who leads the probe into the online hacking incidents, said in a text message on Monday that the central bank will be submitting the results of their investigation to the Monetary Board. — with a report from Ramon Royandoyan





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